Hasim “The Rock” Rahman: Champion of What Now?

This brief article isn’t a criticism of Hasim Rahman.  He’s a pretty darned good heavyweight, a former champion of the world.  He’s made millions of dollars as a boxer, traveled the world, and met lots of interesting and important people.  Goodness, he’s done pretty well for himself!

But here at the Fistic Mystic we’re feeling philosophical tonight, and can’t help wondering at the multiplicity of titles in play in the boxing world these days.

Following Thursday’s tenth round TKO of the frighteningly mediocre Zuri Lawrence, Rahman is now the NABF heavyweight champion.  Unfortunately it’s unclear to The Fistic Mystic exactly what he is now champion of.  The NABF hasn’t seen fit to pronounce Rahman the champion of the world, but it has also failed to indicate just how far his championhood extends.

Geographical specificity is a virtue possessed by the title at stake Friday (November 16th) when Joey Abell and Teke Oruh will tilt for he WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title.  Odd, though – this title is being contended for on the island of Saint Lucia by an American and Nigerian.  Does it seem sensible that the outcome of this fight could possibly be that an African could win the Continental Americas title on an island in the Caribbean Sea?

A day later (Saturday November 17th) Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko will face Timo “Deutsche Eiche” Hoffman in Germany for the ownership of the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title.  Does this Intercontinental title exclude the continents of North and South America?  It must, because as we’ve established previously, the Continental Americas will have a different champion – either Abell or Oruh.

Of course we wouldn’t want to forget that Timo Hoffman has already held the EBU European heavyweight title, the IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight title,  the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title, and the German International heavyweight title.  Or that Dimitrenko has already fought for and won the IBF Youth heavyweight title and the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title.

Rather than deluge the reader with innumerable alphabet soup titles delineated by geography, nationality, and race (which would be easy to do), we wish tonight merely to mock the ongoing expansion of the number of heavyweight champions of this or that landmass or demographic or geopolitical delineation and to acknowledge the resulting dilution of prestige for those who hold such titles.

One wonders just how many titles Evander Holyfield will have to consolidate in order to become a truly undisputed champion of the world.

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